(1989)

Critic Reviews

80

Metascore

Based on 16 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
There is a deep embedding of comedy, nostalgia, shabby sadness and visual beauty.
91
It’s a film of odd moments, dry humor, and restless characters, each of whom end the film by departing from Memphis, weighed down by what they’ve taken away from it, even if they can’t exactly define what that is.
90
The dialogue sounds as if it had been gathered by means of microphones hidden in diners, buses, waiting rooms, restrooms, motels and park benches. Sometimes it is hilariously banal, with never a word wasted.
90
The film is about storytelling, about how we make connections between people, places, objects and time to create meaning, and how, when these connections shift, meaning changes. Best of all are Screamin' Jay Hawkins and Cinqué Lee as argumentative hotel receptionists hooked on Tom Waits' late night radio show. They, and Jarmusch's remarkably civilised direction, hold the whole shaggy dog affair together, turning it into one of the best films of the year.
90
It's a jewel-like, minimalist film about a group of crisscrossing wanderers and outlaws on one lyrically strange day and night in Memphis--where haphazard-seeming events slowly merge into entrancingly complex figures and patterns.
89
Jim Jarmusch applies his minimalist style to the margins of Memphis as seen through the experiences of three sets of foreigners. Great casting and occasional moments of grace.
88
This bracing, original comedy may be mostly smoke and air, but it's not insubstantial. Mystery Train insinuates itself into the memory and lingers on.
80
Empire
Jim Jarmusch's first colour film is less understated and more inviting than those he made before, which may have as much to do with the constant presence of Elvis (in one form or another) as the rich seam of oddball humour and stylish cinematography.
75
Slant Magazine
Mystery Train is a singularly enthusiastic American anthem that trenchantly interprets the cult of audiophilia as filthy gas stoves roasting marshmallows, raspy radio DJs hawking fried calamari, and ill-equipped racial armies ignorantly clashing by night.
70
Mystery Train is a three-episode pic handled by indie writer-director Jim Jarmusch in his usual playful, minimalist style.

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